history of the first public high school for african-american students in the united states, washington d.c.'s dunbar high school on booktv. dunbar send 80% of its graduates to collagen in 1950 with alumni that includes the first black army general and the first black member of a presidential candidate. this is an hour and 10 minutes. >> to quote the jamaican musicians and activist, slavery is not our history. slavery interrupted our history. with that being said, roughly 6,000 years ago, excellence resided on the african continent and the schooling system created thousands of years before agreed to playland his university system. 1440-1442 a shares in the european global domination of
portuguese exploit african kindness for their version of civilization. 1440-1865, nearly an unrecorded 1 hundred million people's lives are lost or scattered from their homes abortion to do the bidding of the colonizers. according to herbert, in 1526 was the first landing of stolen africans on u.s. soil by the spanish but they rebelled, joined the so-called indians, in 1619, the first official group of enslaved africans reached jamestown, va. the of the british. 1865 the legal abolishment of chattel slavery happens in the united states. shortly thereafter in the south and estimated 500 freedom schools, undergrounds:african plays and of learning by 3 or actual buildings are created again to show the of premium
stolen africans place in education. 1870, a preparatory high school for public use, now called dunbar high school, was formed. 1890, june fourth, fifth and sixth, the first mohawk conference on the negro question was convened with the question of if two and if so, how to educate these now free stolen africans. as quoted by can be, rutherford b. hayes said we are responsible for their presence and condition on this continent having deprived them of labor, liberty and manhood and thus having grown rich and strong for doing that, no excuse for neglecting them if our selfishness prompted us. and to highlight the premium stolen africans placed on education before enslavement and afterwards as well as the struggles we face to get quality
education in the face of insurmountable odds. to ensure high quality of education that reflected us, in vogue book we read the names of great men and women of their time like carter g. woodson and other prominent figures of stolen and african history to come through to hallowed halls of dunbar high. and written with intimate knowledge of the material both for parents at dunbar and firsthand accounts by gathering a lot of oral history and copiously documented research i narrative form that where the people's struggles and triumphs of this historic interest decision it the -- institution fall off of the page and into the reader's heart. i will go on a limb and declare that alison stewart has done the alumni and her parents proud with the telling of this
important story. alison stewart first caught my attention as a d.j. on mtv and her career continued. she was on abc world news tonight, 12:00 to 6:00 in the morning, cbs, and nbc from 3:00 to 3:30 in the morning. team must be a night owl like myself i guess. on radio last npr, pbs and now she is at the most important initials, p and p. i now bring to the podium of a former bj, news journalist, wife, mother, the could have been model and now author, alison stewart and her book "first class: the legact of dunbar, america's first black public high school". [applause]
>> thank you, everybody, so much, thank you for the of the introduction. i will introduce myself to folks who may be encountering the for the first time. my name is alison stewart. my mom was in the dunbar class in 1947 and my dad was in done by class of 1946 and my grandfather was in 1915. if you are from d.c. you probably heard about dunbar from my mom or dad or uncle, if you are not from d.c. the story might be unfamiliar to you so i want to introduce a little bit to folks who are thinking why is everybody talking about this high school and what is so important about it? the story goes something like this. dunbar high school was a place where a highly educated and engaged teachers to have the highest expectations for their students and as a result produce
scholars who went to college in the 1950s 80% of high school graduates went to college and as a result they exiled in wide-ranging fields from business to education to the sciences and the arts. i could be talking about andover or exeter or any of these schools but one of the reasons dunbar was so spectacular and the story itself is so spectacular was because don barr was a segregated high school in the nation's capital and it produced some of the greatest african-americans and the greatest americans period. so many firsts came from dunbar high school. the list is so long i have to stretch out before i save oldest but i will give it to you. the first black graduate of the naval academy was a done our graduate. first black army general was a done graduate. first black federal judge of dunbar graduate. first black presidential cabinet member of dunbar graduate. you see where i'm going with
this. billy taylor, elizabeth cavett, a fine artist museum of modern art, and even more important com as important as all of these boldfaced names were the hundreds of teachers who came out of dunbar whose fan out into d.c. and into the south and into the colored school systems with this fantastic basis of an education and how many people have done our graduates who are parents? you relate to this story. i was looking for people to interview for the book and wanted to talk to some people who had parents and i realized valerie jarrett's father went to don barr. it took me a year but i got to the white house and this is one of the stories she told me. i don't want to tell all of them but the sums it up for people. the first time she heard about don barr from her father she said i was a very young child,
dunbar was critical in my father's past, and gives it full credit for having been educated. he together with his colleagues at a world-class level anytime i would never say anything that was grammatically incorrect he would say at dunbar high school, they taught me, and he would correct me. he is a big believer in don't be lazy with your grammar. do not be lazy in how you speak. and i think that, as a young child, i remember him telling me stories about dunbar high school and to this day gives it an enormous amount of credit for the shaping of his life. one of the great benefits of working on this book, the reason i wanted to write this book is i would hear these stories from my parents and my ankle and cousins who went to dunbar and i thought it was such an incredible story i was sort of fascinated with
the idea that you had an incredibly educated african-americans still living in a segregated city, that you could speak french fluently but some persons in a store wouldn't let you come in to buy a coat. that was such a bizarre contradiction. one of the great benefits was i could actually talk to people who had experiences firsthand but i realized i was in a race against time because the people who could bear witness to what happened after dunbar were in their 70s, 80s and 90s. i told the story you heard, kind of funny, i started getting excited about the project and decided in 2006 i was just going to do it so i started writing query letters to get interviews and i didn't have myself together just yet so i sent out a few and got one back corrected
white protagonist was a building. in 2006 there must be history of the school, your books, so i was working in d.c. and said i'm going to dunbar high school and check it out. they had an awesome football team. they do. sports are really important but what about all the great academics who came out of the school and the person had no knowledge of it and this was a very smart dc person and i thought that is alarming that he doesn't know. when i got to the school i understood why he did know. i went to the school that was built in 1977 and i went in and nobody stopped me and i sort of -- in journalism they say walk like you know you along and keep going. i noticed in the hallway there are picture frames up on the wall in classic cheat frames
tilted and cracked with ed brooke's picture and william hastings's picture and it was of very sad thing and there was a cabinet that had some old, faded photographs, one of the cases was dr. charles drew holding a basketball but they were fading and not behind protective glass and it struck me this history might actually be lost. if somebody doesn't write this down, like a book, someone needs to record the history for a while i thought it should i contact michael lewis or one of these fantastic writers? i am going to do. aed before but why not? that is how i started my journey. one of the things that is interesting that i learned a lot in researching this and they know me at the howard library like you wouldn't believe that library of congress and the summer archives.
one thing i found interesting about washington d.c. which i had no idea maybe you do, washington had good schools for colored children in the nineteenth century and i say this in the intro of the book, i used the language of the year as, colored, negro, black african-american, this is interesting, one of the editors at my publisher said this is making me uncomfortable. i said good. that is the point. it should make you feel a certain way. washington had very decent schools. they were small, private, unlike in the south as marshall mentioned in the south where it was simply illegal to teach someone, a colored person, to read. a colored person could be in south carolina to read the slave transcripts and eli shagreen remember don't you get caught
with a pencil and pen. that is as bad as killing your master. to give you a sense of the idea in washington even though there weren't going to the public schools provided for colored children they were not going to stop them from learning and that was an amazing thing and i feel it is one of the cornerstones for why the high school was able to be established. you already had learning going on in the district. so after the civil war, the local leaders realized what we have to do, something with these freed colored children. i don't want to give away too many details but there were a group of three black men who saw their opportunity. if we are going to get past the grammar school level this is the time to do it so they were able to establish a high school, the preparatory high school for colored youth, they were not given a building so they went to the basement of a church with four students on november 4th,
1870. that was the first day of class. here is something interesting, i started realizing dunbar was about us spirits and hata sold there wasn't a physical-building for 22 years. the school traveled from building to building in and out of grammar school and in the course of that, the people who were the teachers and principals began very early on establishing it as a place of academic rigor. among the first three principles was the first black graduate of harvard, the first black woman in the country to get her four year degree and she was really very instrumental in starting the heavy-duty strict academic curriculum. the teachers act dunbar over the course of old dunbar existence were an extraordinary
intellects. many of them were the first blacks to go to competitive schools, and hurst, oberlin, brown, yale, harvard, when they graduate, they could not get jobs often. they could teach in universities. if they went on to get master's or p hds they couldn't teach because of jim crow laws. many of them came back and tossed at dunbar. many of you heard stories about high school teachers with ph.d.s in math and language and eva dykes, the first, complicated story, first woman to earn all her credits for a ph.d. at radcliffe, graduated from dunbar and got her ph.d. from radcliffe even though in the process of trying to write a dissertation she couldn't get to certain libraries. they wouldn't let her in but she managed to complete it. that was a kind of teaching force at dunbar and also attracted people who had degrees in law. there was a medical doctor who
was one of the principles. one of the principles was a lawyer but when asked why are you teaching, i like a paycheck. the reputation of this school really grew and it became a way of life to be at dunbar and there was a certain code of behavior and certain things were expected of you and one of the things i loved reading more than anything else in my research worth handbooks with their instructions on how to behave. i will read a little bit from the handbooks. i will lead up to it. being undone bar student was a way of life. a strong program was a given and the reason why students went to dunbar and would xl period. the school adopted a latin motto, greater in adversity, = in prosperity, forming a halo
around woman in a robe with a book in her lap and boston year every year but. new students were informed that to be at done by they had to have, quote, a serious purpose to succeed. to achieve those ends to this work counseled about what to eat and how to behave. all students for given a small hand book and asked to read it and consulting it regularly. it went beyond the classroom, it might make a libertarian uncomfortable. instructed students not to gossip, suggested sleeping eight hours a day, quote, with the windows open. there were guidelines how to pick friends quote that girls and boys who fail in lessons to were unsatisfactory or careless and have that should not be chosen as companions. the way the administration saw if the student chose to come to dunbar and was lucky eto stay there, he or she was a representative of dunbar wherever the student went.
two pages of the student handbook were devoted to how to act in public. on walking down the street avoid loud talking, boisterous laughter or familiar actions. if you desire to converse with a friend walked a l but don't later. leave the street corners for traffic. for contract at social affairs student were told always free your host and hostess is upon t remember the following suggestions, bullies ask the girls to dance. boys after dancing thank their parter and escort her to her seat, did not leave her in the middle of the floor. girls, remember remove all wraps before dancing. to not accept an invitation to dance with anyone with whom you are not acquainted. gum chewing is in bad taste, avoid it. they meant business. i don't mean to make it sound as
if it was easy for dunbar to continue to exist. every victory for the school was hard fought, from getting the buildings to maintaining the high level of the curriculum. the school once under constant fire to try to rollback, at one point it was suggested they exchange robinson crusoe for shakespeare because it would be easier for negro children to understand. there was an effort to try to roll in some of the technical aspects and business aspects, but the principals and students and the community fought mightily and fought hard to continue to keep dunbar primarily an academic school. this was to protect the students, to prepare the students for and in hospitable world that they knew they would be going into. let me read a little bit more
from actually from valerie jarrett's father. one fun thing i got to do was go to any event on martha's vineyard that celebrated the and bar graduates and they had five graduates in the 1930s on stage including valerie jarrett's that and talked about what then are mentioned and i will mention quick bites from various people. jarrett's father sporting the tie and suit told the audience we were always told, almost brainwashed that you can do is and when you leave here you can compete. that is the most important thing and we believed it. when you get out you can compete with anybody. he graduated in class of 1939 and harold nelson graduated in 39 spoke of their family's involvement in the school. then there was the school unity, all the people i knew went to don barr. that was what it was, it was the community. harold nelson got a big knowing laugh from the audience when he
added my mother kept saying you are going to be somebody. the other part of being somebody is you'll never embarrass me. and this was something that really struck me as something i take for granted in my life and i am sure most people my age take for granted in our lives and it was from william s. dudley are cromwell about the teachers and what they gave them, what the gift of dunbar was, teachers put their faith and hope unintelligent students who came from simple homes. a lot of parents had modest jobs, regular jobs, government jobs, created stability, allowed people to plan. what a simple idea, to be able to plan your life. because you have been given this education, you can think about what you want to do, you want dreams and hopes and aspirations and having a very basic, stable
middle-class. we talk about that now still but the ability to plan always struck me. i mentioned a lot of students, the teachers were not shy about this, letting them know when they got out into the world outside the cocoon or the bubble that they had been so protected from anybody telling them they were lesser when everyone knew in the outside world, people thought neat rows for intellectually and socially inferior, that is what segregation was about, you stay over there, a lot of men felt when they entered the armed forces and services because it wasn't until 1948 when truman integrated the armed services, and commander wesley brown, got to spend a lot of time with him. he since passed away.
and one question i asked all done by graduates was when was the time in your life you knew dunbar had served you well, can you give me an instance? he described at the academy, interestingly he chose not to room with anybody at the academy because he knew it would be nothing but trouble, wasn't the first black person to go but first to make it through. several been gone and hazed. this was interesting. brown was not that concerned with the academics. he felt confidence in his high school training especially after witnessing his classmates, quote, when i went to the academy i noticed there were a lot of guys with freight as who were not doing so well and i concluded a lot of them were not challenged because their schools were not competitive. a lot of the cadets had for time management skills and were unpleasantly surprised by the effect of a curfew on their grades. what done by did for me was taught me how to study. in that time i learned to get to the meat of the assignment.
as a high school students, working after school until midnight as a mail clerk to support the family, his mother was a laundress at his father a truck driver. my family didn't have money or political drag, have a limited time to study, was working nights and drilling and participating in sports. in addition to working the mail room and running track he was the cadet colonel of dunbar high school cadet corps. lot of time in the book to the cadet corps. it was -- how important the cadet corps was to sell many of the young men and later on the young women, what we think of as roxie now, it was interesting. one thing i found when i was interviewing dunbar graduates was something to tell you and some amazing story. and we had one of those. sort of talking about his
bravery, the bravery of the people who went to dunbar high school who went into the world and said to the world by can do this. and paved the way for my generation. he is in the naval academy and getting demerits' right and left but still the top half of his class getting the merits because we all know why. let me describe this funny moment. at the time of our interview the 79-year-old brown was quick to say some cadets were cordial or decent or had the decency to ignore him. in his home office files, clippings and history books, didn't want to dwell on the negative parts of the experience. he looks back at that time with the curiosity of a communist scientist investigating why some cadets were bigoted quote makes
some were. the question is why. he posed the question to himself i don't know. i have to look in somebody's mind and say is this person and natural born racist? doing this because his parents taught him that way? logic says this doesn't make sense at all. is here for the upperclassman will punish him? the one person who helped the lot was jimmy carter. that jimmy carter. president carter went to wesley brown quite well, spoke very highly, had a nice phone conversation with president carter about him and he did use the word brave about him. and i think he was an outstanding person. had he been to the edge or had less courage or had been arrogant he would not have been successful. this would be before jackie robinson played baseball. this was a very early time and he was brave and intelligent and
well behaved and responded to hazing and quiet persecution with equilibrium. so as i read the stories and hear these i don't have any stories or great lines. it was very exciting to write the history of old dunbar and it was frustrating to write down the recent history of dunbar. i found that up until 2000s hmmm there was always a quarter that was there weather was an engineering program for a student family had gone to dunbar, even though all the difficulties of the outside world made their way into dunbar in the 60s, 70s and 80s and the violence of the 90s there were people who protected the legacy
of dunbar. paula there were some kids who needed -- frankly. and i got another sort of sense of energy about writing this book because it was about the time all the school reform was happening in d.c. and it was discussion about what are we going to do and how are we going to do and what is the plan? you know you have an amazing blueprints three blocks away? why isn't anyone looking for at dunbar and the lessons of dunbar if you are thinking of going forward. think of the social and legal obstacles the folks faced who went to don barr. we know of brand new school, a brand new dunbar which opened, $120 million school, i sent a lot of last week there and there was such great energy around the school and people have a real
stolen yesterday. and one of the architect said to me a building can only do so much. and it brought me right to the teachers which is why i and the but focus on three people i met at modern amar who give you hope and the dean of students at the christian school in a cushy job and he was asked to coach at dunbar and he said he was up for a challenge and he is the kind of guy that might be the handbook that sent home a list of what the kids would eat when they need to be at bed and if he couldn't get their he picks them up in a van. this was his first reaction to when he came to dunbar and all the talk about the mark. he said after being around these girls they are intelligent young ladies but they had no clue i
found out it wasn't the case. some of them more brilliant. why they were trying the answer was true. i asked them and they said it was peer pressure to the they were trying to keep a false image. i broke it down house to put it was. nobody owns nothing in d.c.. the federal government owns everything. you are representing neighborhoods and a project that carry nothing about you. he hadn't realized the inspiration of deprivation until we started taking them to the colleges when the head track meets. we went to virginia check the kotecki and he took the girls' all-around. you should have seen their faces. i could have just cried. the girls had no idea that life could be like that. my girls have got to go to college, he said. his demeanor changes when he thinks about the big picture.
he's serious about the way he believes adults should talk to kids. we need to tell the truth about these. you want to change the cycle will come in going in section 8 and never leaving the hood. the other teacher i ran into he put it so beautifully and so simply a young white guy he said the kids ask about his hair a lot. in his name is matthew stuart, no relation. he was part of the teach for america but he always really wanted to be a teacher. this wasn't something he was doing to enhance his resume or something like that. he put it very plain about what it means and how we are going to help kids in the situation. he said you stay. the first year as much as anything it is getting tested
out and the students want to know what your reputation is. they'd known i was the 12th grade teacher. so i come to work every day. there is always a less than. i've been here for awhile. if you care that's all they need. thank you. >> i'm happy to take any questions. does anyone want to come up? what she's written a book so important that anybody involved in education needs to read it number one. but there is a problem if she wants to address that leader having said that.
new present accurately a dunbar that disproved the racist theory that african-americans can't learn not only can they learn better in the right conditions. and then we get to the fall of dunbar and something you didn't mention in the look because it wasn't appropriate for your book but a student is recognized as a person that bought crack cocaine to d.c. which isn't part of that but it shows the two extremes. now everyone should visit the anbar high school and see what a building can be and can do. proselytizing for a second. but i've never seen a building and i've been in education 30 plus years i've never seen a building that what the past present and future together. but then on sunday night as you mentioned it is a ping-pong thing. >> that is also a good reminder
because we can get tied up in the romanticism of the new building yet there is a long way to go and we have to stay on top of it. >> i happen to be fortunate enough to know those that work there. but having said that, you study the a lot. what would you recommend because probably as well as anyone across-the-board do you have any recommendations you would make of what it should do and then what america could do? because i don't think it's overstating it that dunbar can get back from evin near those heights we have an answer for something we haven't had an answer for for years. >> the biggest concern i have is a lot of people are asking where is this school for because that neighborhood is gentrifying and it's much bigger than the current population so who is going to go in there. they want to bring kids from all over the school and that would
be great but i don't want to see the kids who've been underserved for so long discarded. i applaud the twilight academy is that they are doing where they are pulling the kids out that have not and are getting them up to speed. or else you're going to see a repeat of what happened in the 30's and 40's on the elementary schools and d.c. became overrun and the kids were only going to school two or three hours a day and then when the integrated they are legally desegregated and these kids were up against kids that have a proper early childhood education so that's one thing i think you have to really do make sure you take care of the older population whoever is going to fill out the other five did or the people fear that are going to move into the neighborhood. my sort of pollyanna hope for the mark is you can't go back to that spot to be the original founders wanted an integrated
school. you can't do that. so i sort of have a hope that the anbar can be organically integrated in 15 years. if that neighborhood of people come in and the families come in or if you have people coming from all over the city i know it's a little pollyanna but wouldn't that be great that we have people coming to school together? i think the key going forward is to make sure there's real mediation so the students -- you can't discard them. >> thank you. you've written a beautiful book. >> it was funny i got a bad review that said it was chatting >> do you see the strong development there? >> the head of the pta spoke friday.
they said it to the parents about 122 million-dollar lottery ticket claim of the school. it's so hard when you see a lot of these kids are foster care like their parents aren't around. the extent of the school day it's amazing to see when they offer free breakfast. that is a huge challenge and there was another piece of the anbar puzzle was parental involvement. i think they have a good leader. >> thanks for writing a great book. you quote william who says in
the 60's and 70's the democratization kind of reduced everything to sort of mediocrity across-the-board and the district. can you talk a moment about the ideas of academic rigor and how the schools in d.c. for shortfalls are or are not allowed to hold? >> matthew address did in his class. he said i had a class where a senior doesn't know how to put a t and h together. other the student i don't want to get in trouble but she came in and very bright and it just wasn't worth her to sit in that class. they were such -- it was such different levels. and in the 60's and probably correct me if i'm wrong they were tracking kids right after 54. and because what i mentioned earlier some of the kids so
underserved they were being thrown into the basic track. so they did away with that but a lot teachers talk about any to have people at their level and be able to teach at their level. i am not sure what the right answer is. my kid is going to go to public school in the fall. you don't know what to do. i don't really have an answer. i really don't. one of the reason it was successful is that there was a magnet school. all the kids knew they were going to go to college and that said, i do think armstrong and lifehealthonline.com got a good education but you also learn the trade. and the family couldn't afford to go to school but you got a job afterwards. and in my mind i think we need to take the stigma, and
vocational schools. [applause] >> i don't know if that answers your question but -- >> i am a washingtonian. we talked on the radio before about the tracking and all of that this kind of interesting. my parents and grandparents all went to the mark. my father went to the industry and he came over from alexandria to go to the industry. you had to walk halfway across town to get to the school. he told me he didn't have an overcoat so they put this water on underneath devotee of he and the up being the highest ranking in the military and in the that integrating the armed forces which is what i mentioned to you. but i was going to see is that i
went to mckinley which was a track school, and we took the same class as the best western high school students took can be scored as well or better on the exams. we have a dedicated teachers and the stories about if you mess up the story would get home before you did and you would be any difficulty. but now the technical high school is changed and you don't see so many folks that look like me in that school debate i do raise a question about what is happening in dunbar. and in fact i've been working for the past i don't know how
many years to fight displacement from d.c. and this is just the kind of thing that curiously our civic leadership has been doing to us. we elected them and they the trieste -- bea trey s. >> if anybody is interested we have organizations challenging for ten years on a variety of fronts from small landlords and business persons to coax trying to keep their homes without the taxes going out with them and so we are effective in doing this kind of thing but i want to thank you very much for this book. i know that it's helped me on some research i have to do and something i me in that riding as well.
>> that is one of the difficult things there were so many stories to tell you i had to stay focused. the was hard because i would go down a rabbit holes. there were so many great done our stories and i've been getting a lot of people e-mail me and i put them on my website. they will be in a printing some day, that would be really nice to do. >> you may have a whole section of the bookstore. at all the trends would be paid to you in one form or another in terms of getting other books published. i want to thank you so much for telling the stories that need to be told. we are not just people that pass through d.c.. folks like my grandfather started the houses and what not. you know, these folks helped make the ec. thank you. [applause] >> my name is margaret webster
and volume in 1950 graduate. >> did you know my uncle arnall crème? he was the class of 50. a question in terms of the vision of tumbler plan to stand you interviewed vincent gray the mayor of d.c.. i would like to know if you got a reaction from him in terms of what he sees in terms of the new dunbar and over all the education of students in washington, d.c.. he appoints the chancellor and he should be in touch with what her vision is and doesn't match what he thinks should be going on and what degree did you get
an insight into what he was thinking? >> the two things i can say one was he was very concerned that the the anbar students in the late 90's and 2,000 didn't have a connection to the done our alumni that there seem to not be enough back-and-forth and he felt i could tell in his voice he felt like he and others needed to do more especially in the 2000 which were so tough and no child left behind years ago. there were people at the triannual and i reported the whole thing and you can hear the go through the glasses 1930's and 40's and by the time you get to 2000 it is just one class and he said that really bothered him and that is something he wanted to work on is to bring the past and present of to get there.
the other thing he said he felt was very important, and this was an policy it was important to teach the kids to do for themselves, not to give them everything and he cited an example of some kids that came to him and said we need speed bumps on the street can you do that for me? i can teach you to write a letter and how to get it done to it i am not going to do it for you. he felt like that was something that needed to be in the school. it isn't just all going to happen. but that is about as far as we got on the policy. i really was talking about his personal experience at the don barr. >> what leadership he could provide and what he thought of the policy at all. >> i'm sure if you ran across some concerns about the leadership. >> you can't write about the
education. the stuff that isn't in the book i just went to your people and their concerns. >> i brought the question up because he made quite an issue as part of his campaign against the past mayor so that's the reason i was wondering if he address what he saw since he did say to me she felt she didn't understand middle class people and didn't necessarily have the understanding of what a teacher meant to middle class people as a position of respect and the way she talked about teachers and firing of teachers he felt that she was tone deaf on thate.
>> hello. good evening.itouldn't call him mr. king any more. >> does everybody know who this is? this is the pulitzer prize winner for the washington post. let me just introduce you. [applause] >> they referred to me as a mentor and you referred to me as mr. king. i want to say to the people of washington, d.c. i'm sorry. thank you for this wonderful book. [applause] thank you for writing this book.
i wanted to share my problems as contemporary to read he graduated from the harvard medical been volunteering for the medical corps and received a letter back from the army stating the appreciated the interest of color boundaries and really pissed me of which i have the letter. he and his brother the first corporation for d.c.. the stories about being in the civil rights movement on the sedans and the demonstration. but the men in the family and the brothers and sisters was
always about the koran and how to read i was listening to the handbook i didn't know there was a handbook. >> that was just one page of the handbook. >> i have a list that sticks with me to this day and the piece about you will not embarrass me almost every day. >> thank you for sharing. >> hello sir. >> how are you today? >> i have a very good. >> you are indeed. [laughter] i didn't go to the anbar, my wife sweet potato [laughter] i came up with the great
migration in 1936i came to garrey india and i was the son of a sharecropper and i didn't go to school until i was 10-years-old. when i got the measles as a child when i was 4-years-old fire was in bed for four days and of the houses were papered with newspaper and i do the alphabet. my brother taught it to me. my mother would tell me what the words were and that is how i learned to read. first word i learned to read the beat creed was memphis. [laughter] the memphis press cemetery and i read every paper on that wall. we are talking about education and specifically about a problem with blacks, coloreds, negros,
whoever ryan and education. and dunbar represents the top. you have some people that got together and set up according to your book and i read my book. my wife is black and i read a chapter every night. a chapter of the book and we read the help and we read everything. i'm impressed with what you've done at the beginning of teaching and learning in the city of washington, d.c.. one thing is missing i noticed because in the midsection i helped set up what was called the city wide social adjustment for children who had been put out of schools all over the city. my children. i call myself dad, daddy or pappa to every black child in the world because he is related to me. and as you see me, that's how they see them and they are my
children so i went to the schools where they have been discharged and talk to the teachers and i noticed your instructor came to the school. i went to the homes to see why they got put out of school. and i noticed one thing generally that was unanimously agreed upon. there was no reading material in the home, not even newspaper or a comic book. not the bible. daudistel we have a sunday school books. we had to have our sunday school book and you learned your sunday school lesson. nowhere in the world like to believe. no, no, i would be swimming. anyway, not to digress too much.
but i noticed that was a problem among those people and it is still a problem. we don't have any teaching materials in the homes where those children come from. we worry about why they are out there killing each other and why they don't have anything else to think about. learning begins what thinking and you have to have a mind stimulus in order to do some thinking. it doesn't work that way. >> that's one of the things i like about the extending of the school days that gives the kids who may not have anything to go to at home they can stay in the school longer and that is a good thing bigger starting to do read them are is longer school days. >> i would take the class to my house for lunch and sweet potato will be there to welcome them and give them super what have you. we've been together 62 years.
so she raised my four children and me too. [laughter] black men have a problem becoming men in our generation would you agree with me on that? we didn't want to pattern after the men that we saw. i didn't want to be anything that i saw in the movies. >> that is one thing about on par. they were incredible role models every day. the use to bring people to speak to the students all the time about careers and options. it was really something. >> when my wife was a social worker used to call with her and we noticed in those homes where
there were no fathers and eight or nine children not only that but they didn't have anything in there to read and i made them show every time one of my children was born we had dr. seuss or one of those children's books and i just want to call that to the attention that we do need to put books and reading material in the homes of those children. >> thank you. [applause] >> good evening. i had the great fortune this morning to turn into the show and heard you on the air and also hurt mr. king. i heard the story and i sat straight up. i was preparing for a college class.
ayman educator. i'm not in the d.c. public schools. i work in a local jurisdiction nearby. one of the things i worked very closely for several years with no child left behind but on the montgomery county side so we know the poverty is a little different on that side. one of the things i'm very concerned about when i heard you this morning is the question i have for you do the students at the anbar know their history? do they know the history of the school? one of the things i'm finding has been very upsetting to me after attending the march on saturday and seeing the number of young students and college students who marched -- we had a group from how were on the front page of "the washington post" yesterday the kids -- our
children don't know their history, and because of that they have nothing to us fire to to know that all of this great mass came before them and paved the way. have you had the opportunity to present your book to the students of the school? >> not yet and it's interesting. i got a letter today from the pen faulkner association that wants to buy a lot of books and put them into school and i said i would be happy to. i found it so upsetting when i went in 2006. there was another reason i've wanted to read the book is i feel like it is a pernicious lie and so many kids have bought
that took line and sinker. >> that is my concern as a leader of the school i know today the open the state of the art of building. you should have been there today and address the student body with this book along with the parents and that's the other piece. you can have all of that that if the parents also don't know the story we have these raising these and if the parents don't have some idea of the history of the building and the people that came before their kids in the building we are going to lose them. the school is going to not be for those students who are most at risk and that's just something i hope everyone here will keep in mind as we move forward. i wish you well in your book and could taking it to the college
where i teach. my students are going to read this. >> thank you. that's great. >> good evening, everyone. had an opportunity to meet you briefly. i'm looking forward to reading your book. after your student about what the mayor had to say for -- i have to represent my decade and i agree with them. i'm disappointed in the lack of support to the of what i tried to do is leverage the excitement to reach out to the alarm that i am in connection with from the nineties and 2000 and get them we engaged to help them see that the play role in preserving a legacy and protecting the brand.
>> you had one of the great last principles of them are. >> i was under judith richardson in the program. i grew up and leave raleigh park and i pretty much grew up and anna jay cooper's home and i lived on second street still my friends or family defenders and i was in the home all the time and i saw the books and the pictures and everything. so i'm really looking forward to that extra history that i didn't get. but want to let you know that we are here. all of the members of the alumni federation you'll be seeing more of me finding ways to reach engage.
>> i am eleanor smith and i graduated in 1950. your mother was in the class with my brother and sister. as i sit here and listen to the tales about dunbar i feel sad because i don't feel -- i don't think that it can be what it was , which the past cannot be with the future is. i am concerned that they've taken a lot of the cream of the crop as i look at that wall with the pictures of the previous graduates i felt will that be
possible for this school? because a lot of those people are. so i'm wondering what does the new dunbar offer in terms of compared to what it was? >> i am bodying in to the idea that the anbar's past will help inspire e future. they have been very plain to me one time. they said these kids are not going to go to colombia that they are going to get to the next step. we need to get all these kidsin colle. it may not be the college that you think is an ivy league school but it's going to be a gochser need to focus now is getting kids -- focus on getting his girls and a college.
it's a long process. it's hard to think that long things have been tough but it's 30 years to get famous and it might take 30 years to get back the other way. >> good evening, everyone. ceramica this is one of my interviewees. >> ibm fisher robinson giving a i learned a long time ago because of slavery times that its most important for you to remember who you are and to say all of your name. so i am lonnie bishop robinson there is so much i would have liked to have told you when you interviewed us. one thing i forgot to tell you is that my paternal grandmother,
mary fisher graduated from dunbar in 1878 -- 1898 and the florence graves who was the coordinator for all of the glasses, found the program of my grandmother from that graduation and she was in the school of business which didn't last very long. but i'm so happy that you have written this book. there are so many memories. as you know my husband and i and some others that of year were in the class with mojo joe -- >> my dad. >> and my brother was in the class with your mother but we are members of the class of
1946. my husband and i have so many memories about don barr and i know there is a saying you can never go home again. we can't go back but the memories are very strong for us who are 85-years-old now. there were many things our class did upon graduation. we did try to act as mentors to the glasses. we had a scholarship fund and the federation is doing that now. we can only go forward to. i know we are sorry about the things that happened but we haven't gone forward. with the persons that are still alive and having remember all of the good things that happened
and i just want to thank you. i'm glad that you mentioned scholarships because the federation is a fantastic job with scholarships and i wanted to do something but i couldn't give money to them because you can't give money to people you write about. so i took my advantage from the book and start of a first-class scholarship. it's not a big. it's not a lot of money but if it helps some kids to study in school it is open for anybody to contribute to. you can get to it through my website or through uncf. am i going to sign some books now? okay. >> for everyone who might have missed it, the express and post did a right of dunbar and did an interview with ms. stewart on wednesday so you might have to go to the archives and check it out to be and what i would like for us to do is make sure that we sell out of this book.
they are available out the front. for anybody that i couldn't let you get your questions please get a book and then come and talk with ms. stewart. full of your chairs, pick up your trash. [applause] the last 15 years booktv has covered the annual national book award ceremony. >> what i was doing is trying to capture the voices after world war ii in japan. it was a story about japan and americans and japanese coming
together and to capture those voices i had to go back to so many printed sources of every nature of books and magazines, letters to the editors, songs. so many forms of print and to a story in such as myself this is a treasure coast. >> you can watch all of the ceremonies from the past 15 years on line in our video library. also in 1999 the pulitzer prize recipients for history for edwin burrows and mike wallace the authors of the history of new york city. mike talked about the gotham >> when you say that you're attempting to take on new york city what is your shtick. how can you get a handle on something of this magnitude and in fact there is and one in particular. there is a variety of them and a variety of tracks that run through the manuscript.
at the largest and highest level of analysis we are interested in tracking the cities and changing position on the plan at. some of global power has tried to come in and dominate the afghans seem and control it and use it for its own purposes. there have been periods in afghan history when the rulers of afghanistan have taken advantage of the geographical position of afghanistan to play
sort of neutrality card using the favoritism towards one global power play in the butt against the possibility of leaning towards the other global power to keep some of them at bay and this is the successful afghan rulers whenever there have been any. and the cold war for example was a notable period. both the u.s.s.r. were interested in afghanistan and they both were competing in large to their influence in the country and somehow because of the counterbalancing of the two forces there was a period when afghans were in control of their own destiny. and during that period use of all modernization and the change in afghanistan that was more rapid and more sort of dramatic than you have seen anywhere in this country. that period ended when the pendulum of trying to swing back and forth between afghanistan
and the outdoor world started to swing so fast and so far that finally crashed and the country succumbed by the smaller communist group which then quickly was followed by the soviet invasion. and i would contend that from that day to this we are still in the aftermath and the after effect of the soviet invasion. the soviet invasion pretty much destroyed the fabric of the country. the 6 million refugees that it drove out of the country and the destruction under villages, the tearing apart of the tribal structures and the creation of the state of war and which the old traditional afghan systems generating leadership which was in that state of chaos. if you had a gun and you were good with it you were probably going to end up being an
important guide. that brought him into being a whole other class of afghan leaders who are commanders. now they call them warlords and that entered the freight those guys started fighting each other and they tore the city's apart and then in the week of that can the taliban. so now we are in the country and i think we have come in with something of the same idea the soviets had which is this is a primitive country and a lot of trouble and if we can restore everything and produce material benefits for the people they will be grateful and they will come over to our side. there's more to it however. the interested in the benefits like anyone is but there's a question of the reconstruction of the afghan institution, the society, the family structure and reconciliation of al